Welcome to the Week in Review.

1. Pharma Faces Setback in Legal Battles To Stop Medicare Negotiation
Big Pharma’s bid to obstruct the implementation of the Medicare Negotiation program suffered a significant setback on Monday as a federal judge ruled against Bristol Myers Squibb and Janssen Pharmaceuticals in their lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the program – marking the fourth time a judge has ruled against the drug industry and in favor of patients. “There is no doubt that this ruling is a win for patients. It eviscerates the strongest arguments in Big Pharma’s coordinated multi-million dollar attack on Medicare negotiation,” shared P4AD’s Merith Basey following the decision. Since the ruling, both drug companies have indicated that they will appeal the ruling, despite the judge’s unequivocal rejection of their central arguments. On the same day, AstraZeneca filed a separate notice to appeal a judge’s March decision rejecting the corporation’s lawsuit challenging the program. On Wednesday, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), alongside the Global Colon Cancer Association and the National Infusion Center Association (NICA), presented oral arguments in their appeal in Texas. Currently the scoreboard reads patients: 4, Big Pharma: 0. — (ReutersPatients For Affordable DrugsFierce PharmaPatients For Affordable DrugsCNN

2. Drug Price Reforms Enjoy Broad Support Despite Low Awareness
A Navigator Research poll released this week revealed robust bipartisan support for the drug price reforms in the Inflation Reduction Act, with 71 percent of voters backing the historic law. Across the political spectrum, a majority of voters strongly support key provisions benefiting patients on Medicare: 87 percent support capping insulin out-of-pocket costs at $35 a month, 83 percent support penalizing drug companies that raise prices faster than the rate of inflation, and 74 percent support the $2,000 cap on out-of-pocket costs taking effect next year. Despite widespread support, less than a third of respondents report awareness about these reforms, highlighting the need for broader education efforts. In a Washington Post column this week, Leana S. Wen, a professor at George Washington University, outlined the key provisions of the drug price law and emphasized the urgent need they seek to address: one in five older adults forgo their prescriptions due to cost. — (Navigator ResearchThe Washington Post)

3. The Looming Cost of Inhalers 
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is facing criticism over its decision to discontinue its popular Flovent asthma inhaler, one of the most commonly prescribed inhalers for children, and replace it with a costly generic inhaler not covered by many insurers — forcing thousands of families to pay its full list price ranging from $150 to $250 per month. Given that asthma is more common and often more severe for Black, Latino, and low-income children, it is these families who are disproportionately harmed when already high inhaler prices increase. Exploiting loopholes in the patent system, these companies routinely withdraw effective treatments from the market and force patients to transition to newer, more expensive versions. This deceptive practice of “product hopping” is one of the drug industry’s favorite tactics. Fortunately, several bipartisan bills in Congress, supported by P4ADNOW, are poised to address such tactics and bring down costs for patients. — (The Washington PostCNNUS News)

BONUS: New data released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) showed that more than 10 million people on Medicare received a free vaccine in 2023 thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, a significant increase from 2021 when just 3.4 million people received a vaccine covered under Medicare. 

Patients for Affordable Drugs NOW, the C4 arm of P4AD, is the only national, bipartisan patient advocacy organization focused exclusively on policies to lower drug prices. We help educate and mobilize patients in support of legislation to fix our broken system. P4ADNOW does not accept funding from organizations that profit from the development and distribution of drugs.